Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture

Although many people have heard of acupuncture, the Traditional Chinese Medicine-based practice, an elusiveness still remains about what acupuncture really is. Additionally, the question remains how acupuncture can help with a wide variety and ailments. Below, we dive into frequently asked questions about acupuncture and how it can benefit you.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine-based approach to treating a variety of conditions. Ultra-thin needles are used to stimulate specific points on the body to promote circulation, thus reviving your body’s natural healing response and immune system while mitigating pain

What do acupuncture needles look like?

Acupuncture needles are ultra-thin and range in different size gauges. Generally, I use thinner needles for more sensitive areas of the body like the face and hands. I also have special thin needles for our pediatric patients. Ultimately, acupuncture needles are the width of a human hair. They are much smaller than hypodermic needles used in western medical offices.

Is acupuncture safe?

If you are seeing a licensed, board-certified acupuncturist the risks involved are very low to negligible.  Most importantly, all acupuncturists should be using sterile single-use, disposable needles. Hence, the risk of infection is minimal. Feel free to ask your practitioner about their clean needle technique and practices.  Although rare, bruising or soreness may occur at the site of insertion.

Is acupuncture effective?

Acupuncture has been recognized clinically as being effective for treating pain and fertility. In my clinic, I have also seen it effectively treat anxiety, depression, hot flashes, night sweats, migraines, stress, fibromyalgia, and more!

How fast does acupuncture work?

I believe that your acupuncturist is most qualified to answer this question. He or she knows your specific case best. Typically for acute problems, you should come in 1-2 times a week for 4-8 weeks. For chronic issues, you should come in twice a week for 10-14 weeks. Honestly, it all depends on the condition we are treating and the severity of it!

Does acupuncture increase blood flow?

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to promote blood flow and reduce inflammation. This study from the Journal Anesthesia and Analgesia shows how acupuncture can raise levels of nitric oxide around the needles, which in turn increases blood circulation.

Does acupuncture work?

There is nothing magical about acupuncture. It is science! In brief, acupuncture works by activating the body’s self-healing mechanism. If you’re deciding if acupuncture is right for you, it’s best to be open to its benefits and review scientific journals and studies. I’ve seen acupuncture help with fertility, PMS, anxiety, depression, migraines and so much more!

What is a holistic approach to health and what does holistic mean?

Holistic medicine is an approach where we consider the individual as a whole. This means when treating an individual we look at all aspects of their external and internal environment. I find it highly important to consider their emotions, diet, sprit, relationships, mental and physical states, medications-  the whole shebang!

What happens during an acupuncture treatment?

During your first acupuncture treatment we will go over your entire health history and address your main reasons for visiting.  Once we address all of your concerns your practitioner will take a peek at your tongue and “listen” to your pulse. Your tongue and pulse are great diagnostic tools we use to discover the root cause of your condition.

Then you can just hop on the massage table and relax! We will coordinate a structured treatment and use points that are specific to your body’s imbalances. Finally, once all of our needles are in we will let you rest on the table for 20-30 minutes. Many people take this time to catch a little cat nap!

When your 20-30 minutes are up you will feel ultra-relaxed. Your practitioner will take out all of your needles. Often we will go over dietary changes and  herbal or supplement recommendations before you leave.

What does alternative medicine mean?

Alternative medicine is a range of medical practices also known as complementary therapies. This includes Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and herbalism.  Often in the clinic, I see patients that prefer a more holistic approach to their health care. Conversely, we also see patients that western medicine couldn’t help.

What can acupuncture do for me?

Acupuncture can release blocked energy or “qi” in the body and stimulate function, evoking the body’s natural healing response through various physiological processes. So, through stimulating the body’s various systems, acupuncture can help resolve pain, improve digestion and sleep, benefit women’s health, diminish stress, easy mental states, and provide a sense of well-being.

What does acupuncture treat?  What can acupuncture treat?

Many clinical studies on the benefits of acupuncture show that it successfully treats conditions ranging from musculoskeletal problems (such as back pain, neck pain, joint pain, sports injuries, arthritis, and others. Additionally, acupuncture can be used to ease to nausea, migraine headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, women’s health issues, and infertility.

What conditions can be treated with acupuncture?

Acupuncture is extremely successful in the treatment of a multitude of conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified approximately 40 diseases that are effectively treated with acupuncture. However, Chinese medicine is a complete medical system that is capable of diagnosing and effectively treating a wide range of conditions including but certainly not limited to:

Musculoskeletal and Neurological Disorders

  • Arthritis
  • Back Pain
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Bursitis
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Tendonitis
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Polio
  • Stroke
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Shingles
  • Neuralgia
  • Stiff Neck
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Intercostal Neuralgia

Eye, Ear, Nose, Throat disorders

  • Sore throat
  • Hay fever
  • Earache
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Poor eyesight
  • Sinusitis
  • Nerve Deafness

Circulatory Disorders

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Anemia
  • Angina Pectoris

Gastrointestinal Disorders

  • Spastic Colon
  • Colitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Food Allergies
  • Ulcers
  • Abdominal Bloating
  • Gastritis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Gastric hyperacidity

Cosmetic Issues

  • Fine Lines
  • Wrinkles
  • Uneven Skin Tone
  • Acne
  • Improved Texture

Gynecological / Genitourinary Disorders

Immune Disorders

  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Epstein Barr Virus
  • Allergies
  • Lupus
  • MS
  • Hepatitis


  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking Cessation

Emotional and Psychological Disorders

Respiratory Disorders

  • Asthma
  • Acute Sinusitis
  • Acute Rhinitis
  • Acute Tonsillitis
  • Bronchitis
  • Colds and Flus
  • Emphysema

Acupuncture Also Treats

How does acupuncture work?

A mini introduction to acupuncture

Unquestionably, acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat both acute and chronic issues. Even so, science is only just beginning to understand the pathways by which acupuncture helps the body heal.

Traditional Chinese medicine is a medical system in which the practitioner examines imbalances in the body and seeks to bring the body back toward the harmony of homeostasis.

From a Western medical perspective, many diseases and pain patterns are caused by inflammation, which Eastern medicine views as stagnant or blocked energy, or qi.

Qi in acupunture

Pain is a symptom of blocked or stagnant blood and Qi. Qi is the vital life force that surges through the body at all times.

When Qi is imbalanced or stagnant, this can be a result of one’s innate bodily constitution, poor diet, too much or too little exercise, injury, or chronic emotional distress.  Consequently, this often comes with stiffness, immobility, and swelling. Acupuncture can bring healthy Qi and blood flow back into these areas of inflammation to alleviate pain.

Recent studies show that acupuncture may help the body heal by releasing endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain-killing chemicals and affect the part of the brain that governs serotonin, a neurological chemical that boosts the mood.

These natural brain chemicals change the pain experience by triggering the release of chemicals and hormones to influence the body’s own internal modulating system. As a result, this can bring about a harmonizing effect on nerve and hormone function – bringing balance to both body and brain chemistry which are intrinsically connected.

This improved energy and regulated biochemical balance, stimulated by the effect of acupuncture allow the body’s natural healing ability to activate, initiating well-being of mind, body, and spirit. Worldwide, ongoing research is continuously exploring several mechanisms for the pain-relieving effects of acupuncture.


Looking for a Denver acupuncture clinic to help you with all of your general health, mental health, chronic pain, fertility, gynecological, facial acupuncture, or digestive needs?

Contact Wellnest Acupuncture + Holistic Medicine at 720.618.0770 or book an appointment online.

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